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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Among the estimated 15,000 protesters at the Phoenix March of Our Lives rally on Saturday were thousands of active teenagers taking a stand and making their voices heard. In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting that claimed the lives of three adults and 14 students, post pubescents from across the nation are taking the lead on gun laws and gun reform. The message is clear – gun laws need to change or voters will change those in charge.

Only 12 weeks into 2018 and the nation has already experienced 17 school shootings where someone was either hurt or killed. That averages out to almost 1 shooting per week.  This statistic has many worried that federal and local lawmakers are failing on promises to keep our kids safe in schools.

Taking the issue into their own hands, young voters have rallied together in an organized manner, trying to turn talking points into reality.

But will Arizona lawmakers really listen?

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When Barrett-Jackson, the granddaddy of car auction roars to life every January, Scottsdale bars, restaurants and hotels hit fifth gear.  One of the community’s great special events, it has largely monopolized the notion of “auction” in these parts.

Yet, there are two other auctions taking place elsewhere in Scottsdale that are playing an increasing role to enhance the city’s substantial cache.

To be held soon in the heart of Old Town, the Scottsdale Art Auction conducted by Legacy Gallery, will move some $15 million worth of western art during its auction.  It attracts bidders and consignors from around the country and puts an exclamation mark on what may be Scottsdale’s most interesting street these days, Main Street.

And in October the Larsen Art Auction features more contemporary work.  Like the auction at Legacy, Larsen’s too is held at its own gallery in Old Town.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

All drivers have been there – running late for work and getting stuck at a red light waiting for it to change.  Only to go through the same situation a few blocks down.

Thanks to the initiative and innovation of the City of Scottsdale, many commuters will be enjoying shorter travel times and easier commutes.

For the past two-years, various traffic specialists have analyzed a series of factors that affect traffic such as patterns in lagging or leading left-turn arrows. Analysts are attempting to reduce wait times along 15 high-traffic Scottsdale corridors.

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Phoenix (March 28) – Today, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery endorsed Republican candidate Shawnna Bolick for the open House seat in Legislative District 20.

“Shawnna Bolick is a strong supporter of the rule of law and is a constitutional conservative. She is smart, principled and will serve her constituents honorably. I am proud to endorse Shawnna as the next legislator in Legislative District 20,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

“I have a good working relationship with Bill Montgomery and enjoyed working with him in the past election,” stated Bolick. “Bill continues to serve our country well and I, too, believe in defending the rule of law and advocating for crime victim’s rights. His endorsement carries a lot of weight and I look forward to working with him once I am elected to the Arizona Legislature.”

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Warning: You may become irate after reading this.

About Miller and Thomas Roads sites the Coronado Golf Course. There, affordable golf on nine holes, with a driving range, has been available to the community for decades. It’s where kids learn to play, seniors get around easily and most everyone who can’t afford Estancia, Whisper Rock or DC Ranch can enjoy a nice, easy afternoon on the links.

The course is a combination of private and public land. It’s an innovative approach whereby a private operator effectively saves the city a bunch of money by paying for and managing a golf course in areas where it would otherwise have to spend money to maintain the Indian Bend Wash.

Homes and apartments adjoin parts of the course. Residents don’t need to be Magellan to understand that flying golf balls and the like can impact where they live. After all, the golf course was there first.

Yet, a couple of loud neighbors on the 9th hole with little else to do than email Scottsdale officials may be on the verge of convincing the city to spend taxpayer money to cut the finishing hole from a Par 4 to a Par 3, changing a beloved closing hole just so people who moved onto it don’t have to get as many golf balls in their yards. Did we mention the hole has been as is for forty years? Fore!

This is undeniably government at its worst. Once upon a time there was a golfer uprising that defeated a plan to transform the Coronado Golf Course into a private practice facility for the San Francisco Giants. Elected officials scurried away from the concept when the rancor rang so loud.

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PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced today he will resign effective Tuesday, April 3, 2018 to become the Chief Financial Officer of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration.

“It has been such an honor to serve the State of Arizona as Treasurer and I have worked hard to make sure our financial results reflect the trust that the voters placed in me in 2014,” Treasurer DeWit said.
“The superb performance of the Treasurer’s office during my tenure has been recognized nationally and I truly love the job of Treasurer for the great state of Arizona,” DeWit said.

“I am extremely grateful that President Trump and the United States Senate have entrusted me to serve the country at such an accomplished agency as NASA. It is a very exciting opportunity for myself and my family, and I will continue to work hard to make the people of Arizona proud for putting their faith in me four years ago. As I continue to serve the country at NASA, I want to thank my wife Marina and our family for the tremendous sacrifice they have made and are willing to continue to make as I proceed with my public service.”

Treasurer DeWit was nominated for the CFO of NASA position by President Donald J. Trump on Nov. 29, 2017. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on March 14, 2018.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

The future of the school funding has been a point of concern among voters and state leaders as Arizona heads into the midterm elections. With the rise in teacher protests and education reform, Arizona leaders have taken notice and decided to come together in order to create a bipartisan solution that attempts to resolve some of these funding  concerns.

In November 2000, voters decided to pass Proposition 301, which raised the state sales tax from 5.0% to 5.6%. The increased annual revenues, roughly $640 million, were dedicated to public education needs. The sales tax was set to expire in 2021, leaving many school districts in the dark about the future of school budgets and teacher salaries.

But this week the Arizona House and Senate had a different idea in mind.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s hard to believe that a city as beautiful and unique as Scottsdale still needs improvements. But with the growing popularity of the community from visitors and locals alike, the city has not kept pace with the crucial infrastructure improvements it needs.

This fall, Scottsdale voters may be faced with a bond request on the ballot as a way to generate $350 million which would go towards a series of projects – from improving our roads to restoring our flood control.

However, for the City Council, deciding on the exact dollar amount and process has not been so easy. Some council members believe that the best way forward is to put it to the voters and ask for a bond request. Others disagree.

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By Pam Kirby
Scottsdale Unified School District Board Member

Here in Arizona and across the country, every day brings a new and louder call to do right by our teachers.

Many in this state, myself included, are calling for an extension of the funding currently provided by Proposition 301.  It is critical money for our public schools and teacher salaries.  We do not need to play games or delay.  The public overwhelmingly supports the measure.  We should pass it now.  Kirby Headshot 2 2017

Better funding for our schools and higher teacher salaries aren’t excuses to tax more and grow government.  Instead, they should be seen as the foundation of an economically healthy Arizona. Business leaders recognize strong compensation is needed to recruit the best and the brightest to their companies.  So, I believe the same is true for our teachers.  Indeed, great teachers and great schools go hand in hand with efforts to recruit new business to the state and grow those already here.  The backbone of our education system, the public schools, needs to be healthy and whole, starting with teachers.

But, while critical, the extension of Proposition 301 only maintains the status quo.  That’s not reform or improvement.  It merely avoids a funding disaster.   I want to aim higher.  I want to appeal to parents and voters to join me in support something more dramatic.  And though I hail from the Scottsdale Unified School District, the reform I outline below can apply to everyone, statewide.

The average teacher salary in Arizona is $47,403.  As most readers know, this places our state at or near the bottom of national rankings.  It’s why many teachers are leaving the profession, and the best talent may not be attracted in the first place – despite its nobility.  There are a variety of reasons teacher salaries vary from district to district.  But, in general, teacher salaries need to increase – across the state.  In Scottsdale, our average salaries are close to $50,000, but they should be better.  

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On behalf of John Whiteman, Reg Ballantyne III, Mike Brewer, and myself, I want to applaud Arizona State Representative Doug Coleman and State Senator Kate Brophy McGee, as well as Speaker J.D. Mesnard, President Steve Yarborough, and the entire leadership of the state legislature for protecting over $650 million in revenue for our schools and avoiding the fiscal cliff of Prop 301's expiration.

Now the business and education community must focus its efforts on expanding the education funding pie after we work to get Governor Ducey re-elected this Fall.

We continue to be vocal supporters of Governor Ducey’s vision for investing in teacher pay, full day kindergarten, K-12 capital and the other priorities as articulated two years ago in his 2017 State of the State Address. 

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